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Began 13.00 

Collected Poems 1923-53. 

Wie ist das klein, womit wir ringen; 

was mit uns ringt, wie ist das gross . . . RILKE 

Collected Poems 1923-53 Louise Bogan 





Collected Poems 1923-1953 
Poems and New Poems 
The Sleeping Fury 
Dark Summer 
Body of This Death 

Achievement in American Poetry, 1900-1950 

Copyright, 1954, by Louise Bogan 

Copyright, 1929, 1937, 1941, by Charles Scribner's Sons 
Copyright, 1923, by Robert H. McBride & Company 
Copyright, 1930, 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1949, and 
1951 by The New Yorker Magazine, Inc. 

After the Persian, Parts //, ///, IV, V first appeared in Poetry, 
A Magazine of Verse. 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced 
in any form without permission. 

Manufactured in the United States of America 
Designed by Jerome Kuhl 







A Tale 35 

Medusa 36 

Sub Contra 37 

The Frightened Man 38 

Betrothed 39 

Ad Castitatem 40 

Knowledge 41 

Juan's Song 42 

Portrait 43 

The Romantic 44 

My Voice Not Being 45 

Proud 46 

Statue and Birds 47 

The Alchemist 49 

Men Loved Wholly 50 

Beyond Wisdom 51 

The Crows 52 

Memory 54 

Last Hill in a Vista 55 

Stanza 56 

The Changed Woman 57 

Chanson Un Pen 58 

Fifteenth Farewell 59 

Sonnet 60 


Winter Swan 

If We Take All Gold 

The Drum 



The .Cupola 

GirVs Song 


Second Song 

The Mark 


Simple Autumnal 

Dark Summer 

Didactic Piece 

For a Marriage 

Tears in Sleep 

The Crossed Apple 

Song for a Slight 



Fiend's Weather 

I Saw Eternity 

Come 9 Break with 


Old Countryside 

Summer Wish 

69 Song 99 

70 Henceforth from 100 
the Mind 

71 Homunculus 104 

72 Single Sonnet 105 

73 Exhortation 

74 Hypocrite Swift 

76 At a Party 106 

77 To Wine 

78 Poem in Prose 

79 Short Summary 109 

80 Italian Morning 110 

81 Man Alone 111 

82 Baroque Comment 112 

83 To My Brother 113 

84 The Sleeping Fury 114 

86 Roman Fountain 115 

87 Rhyme 116 

88 M., Singing 118 

89 Evening-Star 120 

90 Putting to Sea 121 

92 Spirit's Song 122 

93 Kept 123 

94 Heard by a Girl 124 

95 Packet of Letters 125 

96 Song for a Lyre 126 


Several Voices Out of a Cloud 

Animal, Vegetable 
and Mineral 
Question in a Field 
Solitary Observation 
Brought Back from 
a Sojourn in Hell 
Variation on a Sentence 


The Dream 

To an Artist, to Take Heart 

To Be Sung on the Water 



"Come, Sleep . . /* 

Kapuzinerberg (Salzburg) 
Evening in the Sanitarium 
From Heine 
The Daemon 
After the Persian 
After the Persian //, /// 
After the Persian IV, V 
Train Tune 
Song for the Last Act 

9 : A Tale 

This youth too long has heard the break 
Of waters in a land of change. 
He goes to see what suns can make 
From soil more indurate and strange. 

He cuts what holds his days together 
And shuts him in, as lock on lock: 
The arrowed vane announcing weather, 
The tripping racket of a clock; 

Seeking, I think, a light that waits 
Still as a lamp upon a shelf, 
A land with hills like rocky gates 
Where no sea leaps upon itself. 

But he will find that nothing dares 
To be enduring, save where, south 
Of hidden deserts, torn fire glares 
On beauty with a rusted mouth, 

Where something dreadful and another 
Look quietly upon each other. 

10 : Medusa 

I had come to the house, in a cave of trees, 
Facing a sheer sky. 

Everything moved, a bell hung ready to strike, 
Sun and reflection wheeled by. 

When the bare eyes were before me 

And the hissing hair, 

Held up at a window, seen through a door. 

The stiff bald eyes, the serpents on the forehead 

Formed in the air. 

This is a dead scene forever now. 

Nothing will ever stir. 

The end will never brighten it more than this, 

Nor the rain blur. 

The water will always fall, and will not fall, 
And the tipped bell make no sound. 
The grass will always be growing for hay 
Deep on the ground. 

And I shall stand here like a shadow 

Under the great balanced day, 

My eyes on the yellow dust, that was lifting in the wind, 

And does not drift away. 

11 : Sub Contra 

Notes on the tuned frame of strings 

Plucked or silenced under the hand 

Whimper lightly to the ear, 

Delicate and involute, 

Like the mockery in a shell. 

Lest the brain forget the thunder 

The roused heart once made it hear, 

Rising as that clamor fell, 

Let there sound from music's root 

One note rage can understand, 

A fine noise of riven things. 

Build there some thick chord of wonder; 

Then, for every passion's sake, 

Beat upon it till it break. 

12 : The Frightened Man 

In fear of the rich mouth 
I kissed the thin, 
Even that was a trap 
To snare me in. 

Even she, so long 
The frail, the scentless, 
Is become strong 
And proves relentless. 

O, forget her praise, 
And how I sought her 
Through a hazardous maze 
By shafted water. 

Id : Betrothed 

You have put your two hands upon me, and your mouth, 

You have said my name as a prayer. 

Here where trees are planted by the water 

I have watched your eyes, cleansed from regret, 

And your lips, closed over all that love cannot say. 

My mother remembers the agony of her womb 
And long years that seemed to promise more than this* 
She says, "You do not love me, 
You do not want me, 
You will go away." 

In the country whereto I go 

I shall not see the face of my friend 

Nor her hair the color of sunburnt grasses; 

Together we shall not find 

The land on whose hills bends the new moon 

In air traversed of birds. 

What have I thought of love? 

I have said, "It is beauty and sorrow." 

I have thought that it would bring me lost delights, and splendor 

As a wind out of old time. . . . 

But there is only the evening here, 

And the sound of willows 

Now and again dipping their long oval leaves in the water. 

14 : Ad Castitatem 

I make the old sign. 

I invoke you, 


Life moves no more 

A breeze of flame. 

Alike upon the ground 

Struck by the same withering 

Lie the fruitful and the barren branch. 

Alike over them 

Closes the mould. 

I call upon you, 

Who have not known you; 

I invoke you, 

Stranger though I be. 

Against this blackened heart 

I hold your offerings 

Water, and a stone. 

In this ravaged country, 

In this season not yours, 

You having no season, 

I call upon you without echo. 

Hear me, infertile, 

Beautiful futility. 

15 : Knowledge 

Now that I know 
How passion warms little 
Of flesh in the mould, 
And treasure is brittle, 

I'll lie here and learn 
How, over their ground, 
Trees make a long shadow 
And a light sound. 

16 : Juan's Song 

When beauty breaks and falls asunder 

I feel no grief for it, but wonder. 

When love, like a frail shell, lies broken, 

I keep no chip of it for token. 

I never had a man for friend 

Who did not know that love must end. 

I never had a girl for lover 

Who could discern when love was over. 

What the wise doubt, the fool believes 

Who is it, then, that love deceives? 

17 : Portrait 

She has no need to fear the fall 
Of harvest from the laddered reach 
Of orchards, nor the tide gone ebbing 
From the steep beach. 

Nor hold to pain's effrontery 
Her body's bulwark, stern and savage, 
Nor be a glass, where to foresee 
Another's ravage. 

What she has gathered, and what lost, 
She will not find to lose again. 
She is possessed by time, who once 
Was loved by men. 

IS : The Romantic 

Admit the ruse to fix and name her chaste 
With those who sleep the spring through, one and one, 
Cool nights, when laurel builds up, without haste, 
Its precise flower, like a pentagon. 

In her obedient breast, all that ran free 
You thought to bind, like echoes in a shell. 
At the year's end, you promised, it would be 
The unstrung leaves, and not her heart, that fell. 

So the year broke and vanished on the screen 

You cast about her; summer went to haws. 

This, by your leave, is what she should have been, 

Another man will tell you what she was. 

19 : My Voice Not Being Proud 

My voice, not being proud 

Like a strong woman's, that cries 

Imperiously aloud 

That death disarm her, lull her 

Screams for no mourning color 

Laid menacingly, like fire, 

Over my long desire. 

It will end, and leave no print. 

As you lie, I shall lie: 

Separate, eased and cured. 

Whatever is wasted or wanted 

In this country of glass and flint 

Some garden will use, once planted. 

As you lie alone, I shall lie, 

O, in singleness assured, 

Deafened by mire and lime. 

I remember, while there is time. 

20 : Statue and Birds 

Here, in the withered arbor, like the arrested wind, 
Straight sides, carven knees, 

Stands the statue, with hands flung out in alarm 
Or remonstrances. 

Over the lintel sway the woven bracts of the vine 
In a pattern of angles. 

The quill of the fountain falters, woods rake on the sky 
Their brusque tangles. 

The birds walk by slowly, circling the marble girl, 
The golden quails, 

The pheasants, closed up in their arrowy wings, 
Dragging their sharp tails. 

The inquietudes of the sap and of the blood are spent. 

What is forsaken will rest. 

But her heel is lifted, she would flee, the whistle of 

the birds 
Fails on her breast. 

21 : The Alchemist 

I burned my life, that I might find 

A passion wholly of the mind, 

Thought divorced from eye and bone, 

Ecstasy come to breath alone. 

I broke my life, to seek relief 

From the flawed light of love and grief. 

With mounting beat the utter fire 
Charred existence and desire. 
It died low, ceased its sudden thresh. 
I had found unmysterious flesh 
Not the mind's avid substance still 
Passionate beyond the will. 

22 : Men Loved Wholly Beyond Wisdom 

Men loved wholly beyond wisdom 
Have the staff without the banner. 
Like a fire in a dry thicket 
Rising within women's eyes 
Is the love men must return. 
Heart, so subtle now, and trembling, 
What a marvel to be wise, 
To love never in this manner! 
To be quiet in the fern 
Like a thing gone dead and still, 
Listening to the prisoned cricket 
Shake its terrible, dissembling 
Music in the granite hill. 

23 : The Crows 

The woman who has grown old 
And knows desire must die, 
Yet turns to love again, 
Hears the crows' cry. 

She is a stem long hardened, 
A weed that no scythe mows. 
The heart's laughter will be to her 
The crying of the crows, 

Who slide in the air with the same voice 
Over what yields not, and what yields, 
Alike in spring, and when there is only bitter 
Winter-burning in the fields. 

24 : Memory 

Do not guard this as rich stuff without mark 
Closed in a cedarn dark, 

Nor lay it down with tragic masks and greaves, 
Licked by the tongues of leaves. 

Nor let it be as eggs under the wings 
Of helpless, startled things, 
Nor encompassed by song, nor any glory 
Perverse and transitory. 

Rather, like shards and straw upon coarse ground, 

Of little worth when found, 

Rubble in gardens, it and stones alike, 

That any spade may strike. 

25 : Women 

Women have no wilderness in them, 
They are provident instead, 
Content in the tight hot cell of their hearts 
To eat dusty bread. 

They do not see cattle cropping red winter grass, 

They do not hear 

Snow water going down under culverts 

Shallow and clear. 

They wait, when they should turn to journeys, 
They stiffen, when they should bend. 
They use against themselves that benevolence 
To which no man is friend. 

They cannot think of so many crops to a field 
Or of clean wood cleft by an axe. 
Their love is an eager meaninglessnesa 
Too tense, or too lax. 

They hear in every whisper that speaks to them 

A shout and a cry. 

As like as not, when they take life over their door-sills 

They should let it go by. 

26 : Last Hill In A Vista 

Come, let us tell the weeds in ditches 
How we are poor, who once had riches, 
And lie out in the sparse and sodden 
Pastures that the cows have trodden, 
The while an autumn night seals down 
The comforts of the wooden town. 

Come, let us counsel some cold stranger 
How we sought safety, but loved danger. 
So, with stiff walls about us, we 
Chose this mdle fragile boundary: 
Hills, where light poplars, the firm oak, 
Loosen into a little smoke. 

27 : Stanza 

No longer burn the hands that seized 
Small wreaths from branches scarcely green. 
Wearily sleeps the hardy, lean 
Hunger that could not be appeased. 
The eyes that opened to white day 
Watch cloud that men may look upon: 
Leda forgets the wings of the swan; 
Danae has swept the gold away. 

28 : The Changed Woman 

The light flower leaves its little core 
Begun upon the waiting bough. 
Again she bears what she once bore 
And what she knew she re-learns now. 

The cracked glass fuses at a touch, 
The wound heals over, and is set 
In the whole flesh, and is not much 
Quite to remember or forget. 

Rocket and tree, and dome and bubble 
Again behind her freshened eyes 
Are treacherous. She need not trouble. 
Her lids will know them when she dies. 

And while she lives, the unwise, heady 
Dream, ever denied and driven, 
Will one day find her bosom ready, 
That never thought to be forgiven. 

29 : Chanson un Peu Naive 

What body can be ploughed, 
Sown, and broken yearly? 
She would not die, she vowed, 
But she has, nearly. 

Sing, heart, sing; 

Call and carol clearly. 

And, since she could not die, 
Care would be a feather, 
A film over the eye 
Of two that lie together. 

Fly, song, fly, 

Break your little tether. 

So from strength concealed 
She makes her pretty boast: 
Pain is a furrow healed 
And she may love you most 

Cry, song, cry, 

And hear your crying lost. 

30 : Fifteenth Farewell 


You may have all things from me, save my breath, 
The slight life in my throat will not give pause 
For your love, nor your loss, nor any cause. 
Shall I be made a panderer to death, 
Dig the green ground for darkness underneath, 
Let the dust serve me, covering all that was 
With all that will be? Better, from time's claws, 
The hardened face under the subtle wreath. 

Cooler than stones in wells, sweeter, more kind 
Than hot, perfidious words, my breathing moves 
Close to my plunging blood. Be strong, and hang 
Unriven mist over my breast and mind, 
My breath! We shall forget the heart that loves, 
Though in my body beat its blade, and its fang. 


I erred, when I thought loneliness the wide 
Scent of mown grass over forsaken fields, 
Or any shadow isolation yields. 
Loneliness was the heart within your side. 
Your thought, beyond my touch, was tilted air 
Ringed with as many borders as the wind. 
How could I judge you gentle or unkind 
When all bright flying space was in your care? 

Now that I leave you, I shall be made lonely 
By simple empty days, never that chill 
Resonant heart to strike between my arms 
Again, as though distraught for distance, only 
Levels of evening, now, behind a hill, 
Or a late cock-crow from the darkening farms. 

32 : Sonnet 

Since you would claim the sources of my thought 
Recall the meshes whence it sprang unlimed, 
The reedy traps which other hands have timed 
To close upon it. Conjure up the hot 
Blaze that it cleared so cleanly, or the snow 
Devised to strike it down. It will be free. 
Whatever nets draw in to prison me 
At length your eyes must turn to watch it go. 

My mouth, perhaps, may learn one thing too well, 

My body hear no echo save its own, 

Yet will the desperate mind, maddened and proud, 

Seek out the storm, escape the bitter spell 

That we obey, strain to the wind, be thrown 

Straight to its freedom in the thunderous cloud. 


35 : Winter Swan 

It is a hollow garden, under the cloud; 

Beneath the heel a hollow earth is turned; 

Within the mind the live blood shouts aloud; 

Under the breast the willing blood is burned, 

Shut with the fire passed and the fire returned. 

But speak, you proud! 

Where lies the leaf-caught world once thought abiding, 

Now but a dry disarray and artifice? 

Here, to the ripple cut by the cold, drifts this 

Bird, the long throat bent back, and the eyes in hiding. 

36 : If We Take All Gold 

If we take all gold 

And put all gold by, 

Lay by the treasure 

In the shelved earth's crevice, 

Under, under the deepest, 

Store sorrow's gold: 

That which we thought precious 

And guarded even in sleep 

Under the miserly pillow, 

If it be hid away 

Lost under dark heaped ground, 

Then shall we have peace, 

Sorrow's gold being taken 

From out the clean house, 

From the rifled coffers put by. 

37 : The Drum 

The drum roars up. 
blood refused, 
Here's your answer. 
The ear is used. 

A miss and a beat 
The skin and the stick 
Part and meet, 
Gather thick. 

Now they part, 
Now they're meeting. 
There's not on the heart 
So much beating. 

Use up the air 
To the last drop, 
To the last layer, 
Before you stop. 

Whatever is toward 
It's the drums I'll have, 
Dying a coward 
Or living brave. 

38 : Division 

Long days and changing weather 

Put the shadow upon the door: 

Up from the ground, the duplicate 

Tree reflected in shadow; 

Out from the whole, the single 

Mirrored against the single. 

The tree and the hour and the shadow 

No longer mingle, 

Fly free, that burned together. 

Replica, turned to yourself 

Upon thinnest color and air 

Woven in changeless leaves 

The burden of the seen 

Is clasped against the eye, 

Though assailed and undone is the green 

Upon the wall and the sky: 

Time and the tree stand there. 

39 : Cassandra 

To me, one silly task is like another. 

I bare the shambling tricks of lust and pride. 

This flesh will never give a child its mother, 

Song, like a wing, tears through my breast, my side, 

And madness chooses out my voice again, 

Again. I am the chosen no hand saves: 

The shrieking heaven lifted over men, 

Not the dumb earth, wherein they set their graves. 

40 : The Cupola 

A mirror hangs on the wall of the draughty cupola. 
Within the depths of glass mix the oak and the beech 

Once held to the boughs' shape, but now to the shape 

of the wind. 

Someone has hung the mirror here for no reason, 
In the shuttered room, an eye for the drifted leaves, 
For the oak leaf, the beech, a handsbreadth of darkest 

Someone has thought alike of the bough and the wind 
And struck their shape to the wall. Each in its season 
Spills negligent death throughout the abandoned chamber. 

41 : GirPs Song 

Winter, that is a fireless room 
In a locked house, was our love's home. 
The days turn, and you are not here, 
changing with the little year! 

Now when the scent of plants half-grown 
Is more the season's than their own 
And neither sun nor wind can stanch 
The gold forsythia's dripping branch, 

Another maiden, still not I, 
Looks from some hill upon some sky, 
And, since she loves you, and she must, 
Puts her young cheek against the dust 

38 : Division 

Long days and changing weather 

Put the shadow upon the door: 

Up from the ground, the duplicate 

Tree reflected in shadow; 

Out from the whole, the single 

Mirrored against the single. 

The tree and the hour and the shadow 

No longer mingle, 

Fly free, that burned together. 

Replica, turned to yourself 

Upon thinnest color and air 

Woven in changeless leaves 

The burden of the seen 

Is clasped against the eye, 

Though assailed and undone is the green 

Upon the wall and the sky: 

Time and the tree stand there. 

43 : Second Song 

I said out of sleeping: 
Passion, farewell. 
Take from my keeping 
Bauble and shell, 

Black salt, black provender. 
Tender your store 
To a new pensioner, 
To me no more. 

44 : The Mark 

Where should he seek, to go away 
That shadow will not point him down? 
The spear of dark in the strong day 
Beyond the upright body thrown, 
Marking no epoch but its own. 

Loosed only when, at noon and night, 
The body is the shadow's prison. 
The pivot swings into the light; 
The center left, the shadow risen 
To range out into time's long treason. 

Stand pinned to sight, while now, unbidden, 

The apple loosens, not at call, 

Falls to the field, and lies there hidden, 

Another and another fall 

And lie there hidden, in spite of all 

The diagram of whirling shade, 
The visible, that thinks to spin 
Forever webs that time has made 
Though momently time wears them thin 
And all at length are gathered in. 

45 : Late 

The cormorant still screams 

Over cave and promontory. 

Stony wings and bleak glory 

Battle in your dreams. 

Now sullen and deranged, 

Not simply, as a child, 

You look upon the earth 

And find it harrowed and wild. 

Now, only to mock 

At the sterile cliff laid bare, 

At the cold pure sky unchanged, 

You look upon the rock, 

You look upon the air. 

46 : Simple Autumnal 

The measured blood beats out the year's delay. 
The tearless eyes and heart, forbidden grief, 
Watch the burned, restless, but abiding leaf, 
The brighter branches arming the bright day. 

The cone, the curving fruit should fall away, 
The vine stem crumble, ripe grain know its sheaf. 
Bonded to time, fires should have done, be brief, 
But, serfs to sleep, they glitter and they stay. 

Because not last nor first, grief in its prime 
Wakes in the day, and hears of life's intent. 
Sorrpw would break the seal stamped over time 
And set the baskets where the bough is bent 

Full season's come, yet filled trees keep the sky 
And never scent the ground where they must lie. 

47 : Dark Summer 

Under the thunder-dark, the cicadas resound. 
The storm in the sky mounts, but is not yet heard. 
The shaft and the flash wait, but are not yet found. 

The apples that hang and swell for the late comer, 

The simple spell, the rite not for our word, 

The kisses not for our mouths, rlight the dark summer. 

48 : Didactic Piece 

The eye unacquitted by whatever it holds in allegiance: 
The trees' upcurve thought sacred, the flaked air, sacred 

and alterable, 
The hard bud seen under the lid, not the scorned leaf 

and the apple 
As once in a swept space, so now with speech in a 

We think to stand spelled forever, chained to the rigid 

Of a heart whose time is its own flesh, momently swung 

and burning 
This, in peace, as well, though we know the air a 

And the word of the heart's wearing time, that it will 

not do without grief. 

The limit already traced must be returned to and visited, 
Touched, spanned, proclaimed, else the heart's time be all: 
The small beaten disk, under the bent shell of stars, 
Beside rocks in the road, dust, and the nameless herbs, 
Beside rocks in the water, marked by the heeled-back 

Seeing, in all autumns, the felled leaf betray the wind. 

If but the sign of the end is given a room 
By the pillared harp, sealed to its rest by hands 
(On the bright strings the hands are almost reflected, 
The strings a mirror and light). The head bends to 


So that the grief is heard; tears begin and are silenced 
Because of the mimic despair, under the figure of laughter. 
Let the allegiance go; the tree and the hard bud seed 


The end is set, whether it be sought or relinquished. 
We wait, we hear, facing the mask without eyes, 
Grief without grief, facing the eyeless music. 

50 : For a Marriage 

She gives most dangerous sight 
To keep his life awake: 
A sword sharp-edged and bright 
That darkness must not break, 
Not ever for her sake. 

With it he sees, deep-hidden, 
The sullen other blade 
To every eye forbidden, 
That half her life has made, 
And until now obeyed. 

Now he will know his part: 
Tougher than bone or wood, 
To clasp on that barbed heart 
That once shed its own blood 
In its own solitude. 

51 : Tears in Sleep 

All night the cocks crew, under a moon like day, 

And I, in the cage of sleep, on a stranger's breast, 

Shed tears, like a task not to be put away 

In the false light, false grief in my happy bed, 

A labor of tears, set against joy's undoing. 

I would not wake at your word, I had tears to say. 

I clung to the bars of the dream and they were said, 

And pain's derisive hand had given me rest 

From the night giving off flames, and the dark renewing. 

52 : The Crossed Apple 

I've come to give you fruit from out my orchard, 
Of wide report. 

I have trees there that bear me many apples 
Of every sort: 

Clear, streaked; red and russet; green and golden; 
Sour and sweet. 

This apple's from a tree yet unbeholden, 
Where two kinds meet, 

So that this side is red without a dapple, 
And this side's hue 

Is clear and snowy. It's a lovely apple. 
It is for you. 

Within are five black pips as big as peas, 
As you will find, 

Potent to breed you five great apple trees 
Of varying kind: 

To breed you wood for fire, leaves for shade* 

Apples for sauce. 

Oh, this is a good apple for a maid, 

It is a cross, 

Fine on the finer, so the flesh is tight, 

And grained like silk. 

Sweet Burning gave the red side, and the white 

Is Meadow Milk. 

Eat it; and you will taste more than the fruit: 
The blossom, too, 

The sun, the air, the darkness at the root, 
The rain, the dew, 

The earth we came to, and the time we flee, 
The fire and the breast. 

I claim the white part, maiden, that's for me. 
You take the rest. 

54 : Song for a Slight Voice 

If ever I render back your heart 
So long to me delight and plunder, 
It will be bound with the firm strings 
That men have built the viol under. 

Your stubborn, piteous heart, that bent 
To be the place where music stood, 
Upon some shaken instrument 
Stained with the dark of resinous blood, 

Will find its place, beyond denial, 
Will hear the dance, be most sure, 
Laid on the curved wood of the viol 
Or on the struck tambour. 

55 : Sonnet 

Dark, underground, is furnished with the bone; 
The tool's lost, and the counter in the game. 
Eaten as though by water or by flame 
The elaborate craft built up from wood and stone. 

Words made of breath, these also are undone, 
And greedy sight abolished in its claim. 
Light fails from ruin and from wall the same; 
The loud sound and pure silence fall as one. 

Worn flesh at last is history and treasure 

Unto itself; its scars it still can keep, 

Received from love, from memory's false measure, 

From pain, from the long dream drawn back in sleep. 

Attest, poor body, with what scars you have, 
That you left life, to come down to the grave. 

56 : Fiend's JPeather 

embittered joy, 

You fiend in fair weather, 

Foul winds from secret quarters 

Howl here together. 

They yell without sleet 
And freeze without snow; 
Through them the broken Pleiades 
And the Brothers show, 

And Orion's steel % 

And the iron of the Plough. 

This is your night, my worthy fiend, 

You can triumph now. 

In this wind to wrench the eye 

And curdle the ear, 

The church steeple rises purely to the heavens; 

The sky is clear. 

And even to-morrow 
Stones without disguise 
In true-colored fields 
Will glitter for your eyes. 

57 : / Saw Eternity 

beautiful Forever! 

grandiose Everlasting! 
Now, now, now, 

1 break you into pieces, 
I feed you to the ground. 

brilliant, languishing 
Cycle of weeping light! 
The mice and birds will eat you, 
And you will spoil their stomachs 
As you have spoiled my mind. 

Here, mice, rats, 
Porcupines and toads, 
Moles, shrews, squirrels, 
Weasels, turtles, lizards, 
Here's bright Everlasting! 
Here's a crumb of Forever! 
Here's a crumb of Forever! 

58 : Come, Break with Time 

Come, break with time, 
You who were lorded 
By a clock's chime 
So ill afforded. 
If time is allayed 
Be not afraid. 

/ shall break, if I will. 
Break, since you must. 
Time has its fill, 
Sated with dust. 
Long the clock's hand 
Burned like a brand. 

Take the rocks' speed 
And earth's heavy measure. 
Let buried seed 
Drain out time's pleasure, 
Take time's decrees. 
Come, cruel ease. 

59 : Old Countryside 

Beyond the hour we counted rain that fell 
On the slant shutter, all has come to proof. 
The summer thunder, like a wooden bell, 
Rang in the storm above the mansard roof, 

And mirrors cast the cloudy day along 
The attic floor; wind made the clapboards creak. 
You braced against the wall to make it strong, 
A shell against your cheek. 

Long since, we pulled brown oak-leaves to the ground 
In a winter of dry trees; we heard the cock 
Shout its unp lace able cry, the axe's sound 
Delay a moment after the axe's stroke. 

Far back, we saw, in the stillest of the year, 
The scrawled vine shudder, and the rose-branch show 
Red to the thorns, and, sharp as sight can bear, 
The thin hound's body arched against the snow. 

60 : Summer Wish 

That cry's from the first cuckoo of the year. 
I wished before it ceased. 


We call up the green to hide us 

This hardened month, by no means the beginning 

Of the natural year, but of the shortened span 

Of leaves upon the earth. We call upon 

The weed as well as the flower: groundsel, stellaria. 

It is the month to make the summer wish; 

It is time to ask 

The wish from summer as always: It will be, 

It will be. 

That tool we have used 

So that its haft is smooth; it knows the hand. 
Again we lift the wish to its expert uses, 
Tired of the bird that calls one long note downward, 
And the forest in cast-iron. No longer, no longer, 
The season of the lying equinox 
Wherein false cock-crow sounds! 


In March the shadow 

Already falls with a look of summer, fuller 
Upon the snow, because the sun at last 
Is almost centered. Later, the sprung moss 
Is the tree's shadow; under the black spruces 

It lies where lately snow lay, bred green from the cold 
Cast down from melting branches. 


A wish like a hundred others. 

You cannot, as once, yearn forward. The blood now never 

Stirs hot to memory, or to the fantasy 

Of love, with which, both early and late, one lies 

As with a lover 

Now do you suddenly envy 

Poor praise you told long since to keep its tongue, 

Or pride's acquired accent, pomposity, arrogance, 

That trip in their latinity? With these at heart 

You could make a wish, crammed with the nobility 

Of error. It would be no use. You cannot 

Take yourself in. 


Count over what these days have: lilies 

Returned in little to an earth unready, 

To the sun not accountable; 

The hillside mazed and leafless, but through the ground 

The leaf from the bulb, the unencouraged green 

Heaving the metal earth, presage of thousand 

Shapes of young leaves lanceolate, trefoil, 

Peach, willow, plum, the lilac like a heart. 


Memory long since put by, to what end the dream 

That drags back lived-out life with the wrong words, 

The substitute meaning? 

Those that you once knew there play out false time, 

Elaborate yesterday's words, that they were deaf to. 

Being dead ten years. Call back in anguish 

The anger in childhood that defiled the house 

In walls and timber with its violence? 

Now must you listen again 

To your own tears, shed as a child, hold the bruise 

With your hand, and weep, fallen against the wall, 

And beg, Don't, doTtt 9 while the pitiful rage goes on 

That cannot stem itself? 

Or, having come into woman's full estate, 

Enter the rich field, walk between the bitter 

Bowed grain, being compelled to serve, 

To heed unchecked in the heart the reckless fury 

That tears fresh day from day, destroys its traces, 

Now bear the blow too young? 


In early April 

At six o'clock the sun has not set; on the walls 
It shines with scant light, pale, dilute, misplaced, 
Light there's no use for. At overcast noon 

The sun comes out in a flash, and is taken 
Slowly back to the cloud. 


Not memory, and not the renewed conjecture 

Of passion that opens the breast, the unguarded look 

Flaying clean the raped defense of the body, 

Breast, bowels, throat, now pulled to the use of the eyes 

That see and are taken. The body that works and sleeps, 

Made vulnerable, night and day, to delight that changes 

Upon the lips that taste it, to the lash of jealousy 

Struck on the face, so the betraying bed 

Is gashed clear, cold on the mind, together with 

Every embrace that agony dreads but sees 

Open as the love of dogs. 


The cloud shadow flies up the bank, but does not 
Blow off like smoke. It stops at the bank's edge. 
In the field by trees two shadows come together. 
The trees and the cloud throw down their shadow upon 
The man who walks there. Dark flows up from his feet 
To his shoulders and throat, then has his face in its 

Then lifts. 


Will you turn to yourself, proud breast, 

Sink to yourself, to an ingrained, pitiless 

Rejection of voice and touch not your own, press sight 

Into a myth no eye can take the gist of; 

Clot up the bone of phrase with the black conflict 

That claws it back from sense? 

Go into the breast . . . 

You have traced that lie, before this, out to its end, 
Heard bright wit headstrong in the beautiful voice 
Changed to a word mumbled across the shoulder 
To one not there; the gentle self split up 
Into a yelling fiend and a soft child. 
You have seen the ingrown look 
Come at last upon a vision too strong 
Ever to turn away. 

The breast's six madnesses repeat their dumb-show. 


In the bright twilight children call out in the fields. 

The evening takes their cry. How late it is! 

Around old weeds worn thin and bleached to their pith 

The field has leaped to stalk and strawberry blossom. 

The orchard by the road 

Has the pear-tree full at once of flowers and leaves, 

The cherry with flowers only. 


The mind for refuge, the grain of reason, the will, 
Pulled by a wind it thinks to point and name? 
Malicious symbol, key for rusty wards, 
The crafty knight in the game, with its mixed move, 
Prey to an end not evident to craft. . . . 


Fields are ploughed inward 

From edge to center; furrows squaring off 

Make dark lines far out in irregular fields, 

On hills that are builded like great clouds that over them 

Rise, to depart. 

Furrow within furrow, square within a square, 

Draw to the center where the team turns last. 

Horses in half-ploughed fields 

Make earth they walk upon a changing color. 


The year's begun; the share's again in the earth. 

Speak out the wish like music, that has within it - 
The horn, the string, the drum pitched deep as grief. 
Speak it like laughter, outward. O brave, O generous 
Laughter that pours from the well of the body and draws 
The bane that cheats the heart: aconite, nightshade, 

Hellebore, hyssop, rue, symbols and poisons 

We drink, in fervor, thinking to gain thereby 

Some difference, some distinction. 

Speak it, as that man said, as though the earth spoke, 

By the body of rock, shafts of heaved strata, separate, 


Though it be but for sleep at night, 
Speak out the wish. 

The vine we pitied is in leaf; the wild 
Honeysuckle blows by the granite. 


See now 

Open above the field, stilled in wing-stiffened flight, 

The stretched hawk fly. 


69 : Song 

It is not now I learn 
To turn the heart away 
From the rain of a wet May 
Good for the grass and leaves. 
Years back I paid my tithe 
And earned my salt in kind, 
And watched the long slow scythe 
Move where the grain is lined, 
And saw the stubble burn 
Under the darker sheaves. 
Whatever now must go 
It is not the heart that grieves. 
It is not the heart the stock, 
The stone, the deaf, the blind 
That sees the birds in flock 
Steer narrowed to the wind. 

70 : Henceforth, From the Mind 

Henceforth, from the mind, 

For your whole joy, must spring 

Such joy as you may find 

In any earthly thing, 

And every time and place 

Will take your thought for grace. 

Henceforth, from the tongue, 
From shallow speech alone, 
Comes joy you thought, when young, 
Would wring you to the bone, 
Would pierce you to the heart 
And spoil its stop and start. 

Henceforward, from the shell, 
Wherein you heard, and wondered 
At oceans like a hell 
So far from ocean sundered 
A smothered sound that sleeps 
Long lost within lost deeps, 

Will chime you change and hours, 
The shadow of increase, 
Will sound you flowers 
Born under troubled peace 
Henceforth, henceforth 
Will echo sea and earth. 

71 : Homunculus 

see what I have made! 
A delicate precious ruse 
By which death is betrayed 
And all time given use. 

See this fine body, joined 
More cleanly than a thorn. 
What man, though lusty-loined, 
What woman from woman born, 

Shaped a slight thing, so strong, 
Or a wise thing, so young? 
This mouth will yet know song 
And words move on this tongue. 

It lacks but life: some scent, 
Some kernel of hot endeavor, 
Some dust of dead content 
Will make it live forever. 

72 : Single Sonnet 

Now, you great stanza, you heroic mould, 

Bend to my will, for I must give you love: 

The weight in the heart that breathes, but cannot move, 

Which to endure flesh only makes so bold. 

Take up, take up, as it were lead or gold 
The burden; test the dreadful mass thereof. 
No stone, slate, metal under or above 
Earth, is so ponderous, so dull, so cold. 

Too long as ocean bed bears up the ocean, 
As earth's core bears the earth, have I borne this; 
Too long have lovers, bending for their kiss, 
Felt bitter force cohering without motion. 

Staunch meter, great song, it is yours, at length, 
To prove how stronger you are than my strength. 

73 : Exhortation 

Give over seeking bastard joy 
Nor cast for fortune's side-long look. 
Indifference can be your toy ; 
The bitter heart can be your book. 
(Its lesson torment never shook.) 

In the cold heart, as on a page, 
Spell out the gentle syllable 
That puts short limit to your rage 
And curdles the straight fire of hell, 
Compassing all, so all is well. 

Read how, though passion sets in storm 
And grief's a comfort, and the young 
Touch at the flint when it is warm, 
It is the dead we live among, 
The dead given motion, and a tongue. 

The dead, long trained to cruel sport 
And the crude gossip of the grave ; 
The dead, who pass in motley sort, 
Whom sun nor sufferance can save. 
Face them. They sneer. Do not be brave. 

Know once for all : their snare is set 
Even now ; be sure their trap is laid ; 
And you will see your lifetime yet 
Come to their terms, your plans unmade,- 
And be belied, and be betrayed. 

74 : Hyprocrite Swift 

Hypocrite Swift now takes an eldest daughter. 
He lifts Vanessa's hand. Cudsho, my dove! 
Drink Wexf ord ale and quaff down Wexford water 
But never love. 

He buys new caps ; he and Lord Stanley ban 
Hedge-fellows who have neither wit nor swords. 
He turns his coat; Tories are in; Queen Anne 
Makes twelve new lords. 

The town mows hay in hell; he swims in the river; 
His giddiness returns; his head is hot. 
Bejries are clean, while peaches damn the giver 
(Though grapes do not). 

Mrs. Vanhomrigh keeps him safe from the weather. 
Preferment pulls his periwig askew. 
Pox takes belittlers; do the willows feather? 
God keep you. 

Stella spells ill ; Lords Peterborough and Fountain 
Talk politics ; the Florence wine went sour. 
Midnight: two different clocks, here and in Dublin, 
Give out the hour. 

On walls at court, long gilded mirrors gaze. 
The parquet shines; outside the snow falls deep. 
Venus, the Muses stare above the maze. 
Now sleep. 

Dream the mixed, fearsome dream. The satiric word 
Dies in its horror. Wake, and live by stealth* 
The bitter quatrain forms, is here, is heard, 
Is wealth. 

What care I ; what cares saucy Presto ? Stir 
The bed-clothes ; hearten up the perishing fire. 
Hypocrite Swift sent Stella a green apron 
And dead desire. 

76 : At a Party 

Over our heads, if we but knew, 
Over our senses, as they reel, 
The planets tread, great seven, great two 
Venus, Uranus, in a wheel. 

Spirit (and let the flesh speak out), 
Be still. To make this moment mine 
All matter falls into a rout ; 
Both art and usury combine. 

And each bright symbol of their power 
Speaks of my triumph, and your fall. 
Step forth, then, malice, wisdom's guide, 
And enmity, that may save us all. 

77 : To Wine 

Cup, ignorant and cruel, 
Take from the mandate, love, 
Its urgency to prove 
Unfaith, renewal. 

Take from the mind its loss: 

The lipless dead that lie 

Face upward in the earth, 

Strong hand and slender thigh; 

Return to the vein 

All that is worth 

Grief. Give that beat again. 

78 : Poem in Prose 

I turned from side to side, from image to image, to put 

you down, 

All to no purpose; for you the rhymes would not ring 
Not for you, beautiful and ridiculous, as are always the 

true inheritors of love, 
The bearers; their strong hair moulded to their foreheads 

as though by the pressure of hands. 
It is you that must sound in me secretly for the little 

time before my mind, schooled in desperate esteem, 

forgets you 

And it is my virtue that I cannot give you out, 
That you are absorbed into my strength, my mettle, 
That in me you are matched, and that it is silence which 

comes from us. 

79 : Short Summary 

Listen but once to the words written out by my hand 
In the long line fit only for giving ease 
To the tiresome heart. I say: Not again shall we stand 
Under green trees. 

How we stood, in the early season, but at the end of day, 
In the yes of new light, but at the twice-lit hour, 
Seeing at one time the shade deepened all one way 
And the breaking flower; 

Hearing at one time the sound of the night-fall's reach 
And that checked breath bound to the mouth and caught 
Back to the mouth, closing its mocking speech: 
Remind me not 

Soon to dark's mid-most pitch the divided light 
Ran. The balance fell, and we were not there. 
It was early season; it was the verge of night; 
It was our land ; 
It was evening air. 

80 : Italian Morning 

Half circle's come before we know. 
Full in the falling arc, we hear 
Our heel give earth a lonely blow. 
We place the hour and name the year. 

High in a room long since designed 

For our late visit under night, 

We sleep : we wake to watch the lined 

Wave take strange walls with counterfeit light. 

The big magnolia, like a hand, 
Repeats our flesh. (O bred to love, 
Gathered to silence! ) In a land 
Thus garnished, there is time enough 

To pace the rooms where painted swags 
Of fruit and flower in pride depend, 
Stayed as we are not. The hour wags 
Deliberate, and great arches bend 

In long perspective past our eye. 

Mutable body, and brief name, 
Confront, against an early sky, 
This marble herb, and this stone flame. 

81 : Man Alone 

It is yourself you seek 

In a long rage, 

Scanning through light and darkness 

Mirrors, the page, 

Where should reflected be 
Those eyes and that thick hair, 
That passionate look, that laughter. 
You should appear 

Within the book, or doubled, 
Freed, in the silvered glass ; 
Into all other bodies 
Yourself should pass. 

The glass does not dissolve ; 
Like walls the mirrors stand ; 
The printed page gives back 
Words by another hand. 

And your infatuate eye 
Meets not itself below : 
Strangers lie in your arms 
As I lie now. 

82 : Baroque Comment 

From loud sound and still chance; 
From mindless earth, wet with a dead million leaves; 
From the forest, the empty desert, the tearing beasts, 
The kelp-disordered beaches; 

Coincident with the lie, anger, lust, oppression and death 
in many forms: 

Ornamental structures, continents apart, separated by seas ; 
Fitted marble, swung bells; fruit in garlands as well as 

on the branch; 
The flower at last in bronze, stretched backward, or 

curled within; 
Stone in various shapes : beyond the pyramid, the 

contrived arch and the buttress; 
The named constellations ; 
Crown and vesture; palm and laurel chosen as noble 

and enduring; 

Speech proud in sound; death considered sacrifice; 
Mask, weapon, urn; the ordered strings; 
Fountains; foreheads under weather-bleached hair; 
The wreath, the oar, the tool, 
The prow; 
The turned eyes and the opened mouth of love. 

83 : To My Brother 

Killed: Haumont Wood: October, 1918 

you so long dead, 
You masked and obscure, 

1 can tell you, all things endure : 
The wine and the bread; 

The marble quarried for the arch; 
The iron become steel ; 
The spoke broken from the wheel ; 
The sweat of the long march ; 

The hay-stacks cut through like loaves 
And the hundred flowers from the seed ; 
All things indeed 
Though struck by the hooves 

Of disaster, of time due, 
Of fell loss and gain, 
All things remain, 
I can tell you, this is true. 

Though burned down to stone 
Though lost from the eye, 
I can tell you, and not lie, 
Save of peace alone. 

84 : The Sleeping Fury 

You are here now, 

Who were so loud and feared, in a symbol before me, 

Alone and asleep, and I at last look long upon you. 

Your hair fallen on your cheek, no longer in the semblance 

of serpents, 

Lifted in the gale; your mouth, that shrieked so, silent. 
You, my scourge, my sister, lie asleep, like a child, 
Who, after rage, for an hour quiet, sleeps out its tears. 

The days close to winter 

Rough with strong sound. We hear the sea and the forest, 

And.the flames of your torches fly, lit by others, 

Ripped by the wind, in the night. The black sheep for sacrifice 

Huddle together. The milk is cold in the jars. 

All to no purpose, as before, the knife whetted and plunged, 
The shout raised, to match the clamor you have given them. 
You alone turn away, not appeased; unaltered, avenger. 

Hands full of scourges, wreathed with your flames and adders, 
You alone turned away, but did not move from my side, 
Under the broken light, when the soft nights took the torches. 

At thin morning you showed, thick and wrong in that calm, 
The ignoble dream and the mask, sly, with slits at the eyes, 
Pretence and half -sorrow, beneath which a coward's 
hope trembled. 

You uncovered at night, in the locked stillness of houses, 
False love due the child's heart, the kissed-out lie, the embraces, 
Made by the two who for peace tenderly turned to each other. 

You who know what we love, but drive us to know it; 
You with your whips and shrieks, bearer of truth and 

of solitude; 
You who give, unlike men, to expiation your mercy. 

Dropping the scourge when at last the scourged advances 

to meet it, 

You, when the hunted turns, no longer remain the hunter 
But stand silent and wait, at last returning his gaze. 

Beautiful now as a child whose hair, wet with rage and tears 
Clings to its face. And now I may look upon you, 
Having once met your eyes. You lie in sleep and forget me. 
Alone and strong in my peace, I look upon you in yours* 

86 : Roman Fountain 

Up from the bronze, I saw 
Water without a flaw 
Rush to its rest in air, 
Reach to its rest, and fall. 

Bronze of the blackest shade, 
An element man-made, 
Shaping upright the bare 
Clear gouts of water in air. 

0, as with arm and hammer, 
Still it is good to strive 
To beat out the image whole, 
To echo the shout and stammer 
When full-gushed waters, alive, 
Strike on the fountain's bowl 
After the air of summer. 

87 : Rhyme 

What laid, I said, 
My being waste ? 
Twas your sweet flesh 
With its sweet taste, 

Which, like a rose, 
Fed with a breath, 
And at its full 
Belied all death. 

It's at springs we drink; 
It's bread we eat, 
And no fine body, 
Head to feet, 

Should force all bread 
And drink together, 
Nor be both sun 
And hidden weather. 

Ah no, it should not; 
Let it be. 

But once heart's feast 
You were to me. 

88 : M. 9 Singing 

Now, innocent, within the deep 
Night of all things you turn the key, 
Unloosing what we know in sleep. 
In your fresh voice they cry aloud 
Those beings without heart or name. 

Those creatures both corrupt and proud, 

Upon the melancholy words 

And in the music's subtlety, 

Leave the long harvest which they reap 

In the sunk land of dust and flame 

And move to space beneath our sky. 

89 : Evening-Star 

Light from the planet Venus, soon to set, 
Be with us. 

Light, pure and round, without heat or shadow, 
Held in the cirrus sky, at evening : 
Accompany what we do. 

Be with us; 

Know our partial strength. 

Serve us in your own way, 

Brief planet, shining without burning. 

Light, lacking words that might praise you; 
Wanting and breeding sighs only. 

90 : Putting to Sea 

Who, in the dark, has cast the harbor-chain? 
This is no journey to a land we know. 
The autumn night receives us, hoarse with rain ; 
Storm flakes with roaring foam the way we go. 

Sodden with siftnmer, stupid with its loves, 
The country which we leave, and now this bare 
Circle of ocean which the heaven proves 
Deep as its height, and barren with despair. 

Now this whole silence, through which nothing breaks, 
Now this whole sea, which we possess alone, 
Filing out from shore with speed a missile takes 
When some hard hand, in hatred, flings a stone. 

The Way should mark our course within the night, 
The streaming System, turned without a sound. 
What choice is this profundity and flight 
Great sea? Our lives through we have trod the ground. 

Motion beneath us, fixity above. 

"0, but you should rejoice! The course we steer 
Points to a beach bright to the rocks with love, 
Where, in hot calms, blades clatter on the ear; 

And spiny fruits up through the earth are fed 
With fire; the palm trees clatter; the wave leaps. 
Fleeing a shore where heart-loathed love lies dead 
We point lands where love fountains from its deeps. 

Through every season the coarse fruits are set 
In earth not fed by streams." Soft into time 
Once broke the flower : pear and violet, 
The cinquefoil. The tall elm tree and the lime 

Once held out fruitless boughs, and fluid green 
Once rained about us, pulse of earth indeed. 
There, out of metal, and to light obscene, 
The flamy blooms burn backward to their seed. 

With so much hated still so close behind 
The sterile shores before us must be faced; 
Again, against the body and the mind, 
The hate that bruises, though the heart is braced. 

Bend to the chart, in the extinguished night 
Mariners! Make way slowly; stay from sleep; 
That we may have short respite from such light 

And learn, with joy, the gulf, the vast, the deep. 

92 : Spirit 9 s Song 

How well you served me above ground, 
Most truthful sight, firm-builded sound. 

And how you throve through hunger, waste, 
Sickness and health, informing taste ; 

And smell, that did from dung and heather, 
Corruption, bloom, mix well together. 

But you, fierce delicate tender touch, 
Betrayed and hurt me overmuch, 

For whom I lagged with what a crew 
O far too long, and poisoned through ! 

93 : Kept 

Time for the wood, the clay, 
The trumpery dolls, the toys 
Now to be put away : 
We are not girls and boys. 

What are these rags we twist 
Our hearts upon, or clutch 
Hard in the sweating fist? 
They are not worth so much. 

But we must keep such things 
Till we at length begin 
To feel our nerves their strings, 
Their dust, our blood within. 

The dreadful painted bisque 
Becomes our very cheek. 
A doll's hfeart, faint at risk, 
Within our breast grows weak. 

Our hand the doll's, our tongue. 

Time for the pretty clay, 
Time for the straw, the wood. 
The playthings of the young 
Get broken in the play, 
Get broken, as they should. 

94 : Heard by a Girl 

Something said : You have nothing to fear 

From those long fine bones, and that beautiful ear. 

From the mouth, and the eyes set well apart, 
There's nothing can come which will break your heart. 

From the simple voice, the indulgent mind, 
No venom breeds to defeat your kind. 

And even, it said, those hands are thin 
And large, well designed to clasp within 

Their fingers (and what more do you ask?) 
The secret and the delicate mask. 

95 : Packet of Letters 

In the shut drawer, even now, they rave and grieve 
To be approached at times with the frightened tear ; 
Their cold to be drawn away from, as one, at nightfall, 
Draws the cloak closer against the cold of the marsh. 

There, there, the thugs of the heart did murder. 
There, still in murderers' guise, two stand embraced, 

96 : Song for a Lyre 

The landscape where I lie 
Again from boughs sets free 
Summer ; all night must fly 
In wind's obscurity 
The thick, green leaves that made 
Heavy the August shade. 

Soon, in the pictured night, 
Returns as in a dream 
Left after sleep's delight 
Hie shallow autumn stream: 
Softly awake, its sound 
Poured on the chilly ground. 

Soon fly the leaves in throngs; 
O love, though once I lay 
Far from its sound, to weep, 
When night divides my sleep, 
When stars, the autumn stream, 
Stillness, divide my dream, 
Night to your voice belongs. 


99 : Several Voices Out of a Cloud 

Come, drunks and drug-takers; come, perverts unnerved! 
Receive the laurel, given, though late, on merit; to whom 
and wherever deserved. 

Parochial punks, trimmers, nice people, joiners true-blue. 
Get the hell out of the way of the laurel. It is deathless 
And it isn't for you 

100 : Animal, Vegetable and Mineral 

Glass Flowers from the Ware Collection in the Botanical 
Museum of Harvard University. Insect Pollination Series, 
with Sixteen Color Plates, by Fritz Kredel. New York: 
Harcourt, Brace and Company. 58 pages. 91*50. 

Dleu ne croit pas a notre Dieu. JULES RENARD 

On gypsum slabs of preternatural whiteness 
In Cambridge (Mass.) on Oxford Street is laid 
One craft wherein great Nature needs no aid 
From man's Abstracts and Concretes, Wrong and 

Cross-pollination's fixed there and displayed. 

Interdependence of the seed and hive! 

Astounding extra verted bee and flower! 

Mixture of styles! Intensity of drive! 

Both Gothic and Baroque blooms flaunt their power. 

The classic Empire bees within them strive. 

The flower is to bee a kind of arrow ; 
Nectar is pointed out by spot and line. 
Corollas may be shaped both wide and narrow; 
Mechanics vary, though the play is fine, 
And bee-adapted (not for crow or sparrow). 

Bush-bean and butterwort keep bee in mind ; 
Chamisso too (which has no common name) ; 
Red larkspur, devil's-bit scabious are aligned 
With garden violet in this bee-ish claim 
(Impatiens Roylei Walpers acts the same). 

Expectancy is constant; means are shifting. 
One flower has black cloven glands that pinch 
The bee's foot (on the stigma these are lifting) ; 
Anthers with cell-hid pollen wait the clinch. 
Think well on this, who think that Life is Drifting 

Eager quickly to free its sticky foot 
The bee stamps briskly just where stamp is needed: 
Motion and power attendant on this boot 
Extract pollinia. (Here the mind's exceeded; 
Wild intimations through the fibers shoot. ) 

Self-fertile flowers are feeble and need priming. 
Nature is for this priming, it appears. 
Some flowers, like water-clocks, have perfect timing: 
Pistil and anthers rise, as though on gears ; 
One's up and when t'other's down ; one falls ; one's 

Charles Darwin saw the primrose, and took thought 
Later, he watched the orchids. There, the bees 
Enter in, one way; then, with pollen fraught, 

Have to climb out another, on their knees. 
The stigma profits, and the plant's at ease. 

The dyer's greenwood waits the bee in tension. 
Petals are pressed down: then the stamens spring 
(The pistils, too) into a new dimension, 
Hitting the bee's back between wing and wing. 
Who thought this out? It passes comprehension. 

For forty million years this has gone on 

(So Baltic amber shows, and can it lie?) 

The bee's back, feet, head, belly have been drawn 

Into the flower's plan for history. 

Nectar's been yielded for the hexagon. 

Then think of Blaschkas (pere et fits), who spent 
Full fifty years in delicate adjusting, 
Glass-blowing, molding, skill with instrument, 
While many other crafts were merely rusting. 
Two Yankee Wares (mere, fille) the money lent. 

Cynics who think all this bijouterie 
Certainly lack a Deepening Sense of Awe. 

Here Darwin, Flora, Blaschkas and the bee 
Fight something out that ends in a close draw 
Above the cases howls loud mystery. 

What is the chain, then ask, and what the links? 
Are these acts sad or droll? From what derived? 
Within the floret's disk the insect drinks. 
Next summer there's more honey to be hived. 

What Artist laughs? What clever Daemon thinks? 

104 : Question in a Field 

Pasture, stone wall, and steeple, 
What most perturbs the mind: 
The heart-rending homely people, 
Or the horrible beautiful kind? 

105 : Solitary Observation Brought 

Back from a Sojourn in Hell 

At midnight tears 
Run into your ears. 

106 : Variation on a Sentence 

There are few or no bluish animals. . . . 
Thoreau's Journals, Feb. 21, 1855 

Of white and tawny, black as ink, 
Yellow, and undefined, and pink, 
And piebald, there are droves, I think. 

(Buff kine in herd, gray whales in pod, 
Brown woodchucks, colored like the sod, 
All creatures from the hand of God.) 

And many of a hellish hue; 

But, for some reason hard to view, 

Earth's bluish animals are few. 

109 i The Dream 

O God, in the dream the terrible horse began 
To paw at the air, and make for me with his blows. 
Fear kept for thirty-five years poured through his mane. 
And retribution equally old, or nearly, breathed through 
his nose. 

Coward complete, I lay and wept on the ground 

When some strong creature appeared, and leapt for the 


Another woman, as I lay half in a swound, 
Leapt in the air, and clutched at the leather and chain. 

Give him, she said, something of yours as a charm. 
Throw him, she said, some poor thing you alone claim. 
No, no, I cried, he hates me; he's out for harm, 
And whether I yield or not, it is all the same. 

But, like a lion in a legend, when I flung the glove 
Pulled from my sweating, my cold right hand, 
The terrible beast, that no one may understand, 
Came to my side, and put down his head in love, 

110 : To An Artist, To Take Heart 

Slipping in blood, by his own hand, through pride, 
Hamlet, Othello, Coriolanus fall. 
Upon his bed, however, Shakespeare died, 
Having endured them all. 

Ill : To Be Sung on the Water 

Beautiful, my delight, 
Pass, as we pass the wave. 
Pass, as the mottled night 
Leaves what it cannot save, 
Scattering dark and bright. 

Beautiful, pass and be 
Less than the guiltless shade 
To which our vows were said; 
Less than the sound of the oar 
To which our vows were made, 
Less than the sound of its blade 
Dipping the stream once more. 

112 : Musician 

Where have these hands been, 
By what delayed, 
That so long stayed 
Apart from the thin 

Strings which they now grace 
With their lonely skill? 
Music and their cool will 
At last interlace. 

Now with great ease, and slow, 
The thumb, the finger, the strong 
Delicate hand plucks the long 
String it was born to know. 

And, under the palm, the string 
Sings as it wished to sing. 

113 : Cartography 

As you lay in sleep 
I saw the chart 
Of artery and vein 
Running from your heart, 

Plain as the strength 
Marked upon the leaf 
Along the length, 
Mortal and brief, 

Of your gaunt hand. 
I saw it clear: 
The wiry brand 
Of the life we bear 

Mapped like the great 
Rivers that rise 
Beyond our fate 
And distant from our eyes. 

114 : "Come, Sleep ..." 

The bee's fixed hexagon; 
The ant's downward tower; 
The whale's effortless eating; 
The palm's love; the flower 

Burnished like brass, clean like wax 
Under the pollen; 
The rough grass-blade upright; 
The smooth swathe fallen: 

Do the shadows of these forms and appetites 
Repeat, when these lives give over, 
In "sleep, the role of the selfish devourer, 
The selfless lover? 

Surely, whispers in the glassy corridor 

Never trouble their dream. 

Never, for them, the dark turreted house reflects itself 

In the depthless stream. 

115 i Zone 

We have struck the regions wherein we are keel or reef. 
The wind breaks over us, 

And against high sharp angles almost splits into words, 
And these are of fear or grief. 

Like a ship, we have struck expected latitudes 

Of the universe, in March. 

Through one short segment's arch 

Of the zodiac's round 

We pass, 

Thinking: Now we hear 

What we heard last year, 

And bear the wind's rude touch 

And its ugly sound 

Equally with so much 

We have learned how to bear. 

116 : Kapuzinerberg (Salzburg) 

(from the French of Pierre- Jean Jouve) 

From the low eighteenth-century window 
its thicknesses of pane and blind shut 
against the sun, its silence, the odor of sum- 
mer through it from the low window which 
reminds one so deliciously of Goethe re- 
tired, working, inspiring all Germany 
from there the cascades of hot trees in a 
morning already sick with future heat. 

The great elms and chestnut trees of the 
garden falling one below the other do not 
blot out the view. To the right, the plain 
opening on Bavaria; opposite, a mixture 
of extraordinary mountains and convents 
and bell-towers; to the left, the squat Schloss 
which rises from another part of the town 
and from this point seems to adhere to the 
pale sky, through branches which are green 
banks of the atmosphere. 

The town is invisible. But from this small 
airy house where I stand, it is so good to 
remember it! Beautiful faces of the cen- 
turies, how charming you are. Thoughts of 
all piteous men, and of those worthy of at- 
tention, beyond time and frontiers, how I 
love you. 

118 i Evening in the Sanitarium* 

The free evening fades, outside the windows fastened 

with decorative iron grilles. 
The lamps are lighted; the shades drawn; the nurses 

are watching a little. 
It is the hour of the complicated knitting on the safe 

bone needles; of the games of anagrams and bridge; 
The deadly game of chess; the book held up like a mask. 

The period of the wildest weeping, the fiercest delusion, is 

The women rest their tired half -healed hearts; they are 

almost well. 
Some of them will stay almost well always : the blunt-f aced 

woman whose thinking dissolved 

Under academic discipline; the manic-depressive girl 
Now leveling off; one paranoiac afflicted with jealousy. 
Another with persecution. Some alleviation has been 


fortunate bride, who never again will become elated 

after childbirth! 
lucky older wife, who has been cured of feeling 

To the suburban railway station you will return, return, 

*This poem was originally published with the subtitle 
"Imitated from Auden." 

To meet forever Jim home on the 5:35. 
You will be again as normal and selfish and heartless as 
anybody else. 

There is life left: the piano says it with its octave smile. 
The soft carpets pad the thump and splinter of the suicide 

to be. 
Everything will be splendid: the grandmother will not 

drink habitually. 

The fruit salad will bloom on the plate like a bouquet 
And the garden produce the blue-ribbon aquilegia. 
The cats will be glad; the fathers feel justified; the 

mothers relieved. 
The sons and husbands will no longer need to pay the 

Childhoods will be put away, the obscene nightmare 


At the ends of the corridors the baths are running. 
Mrs. C. again feels the shadow of the obsessive idea. 
Miss R. looks at the mantel-piece, which must mean 

120 : From Heine 

Der Tod, das ist die kukle Nacht . . . 

Death is the tranquil night. 
Life is the sultry day. 
It darkens; I will sleep now; 
The light has made me weary. 

Over my bed rises a tree 
Wherein sings the young nightingale. 
It sings of constant love. 
Even in this dream I hear it. 

121 : The Daemon 

Must I tell again 
In the words I know 
For the ears of men 
The flesh, the blow? 

Must I show outright 
The bruise in the side, 
The halt in the night, 
And how death cried? 

Must I speak to the lot 
Who little bore? 
It said Why not? 
It said Once more. 

122 : After the Persian 


I do not wish to know 
The depths of your terrible jungle: 
From what nest your leopard leaps 
Or what sterile lianas are at once your serpents' disguise 
and home. 

I am the dweller on the temperate threshold, 

The strip of corn and vine, 

Where all is translucence (the light!) 

Liquidity, and the sound of water. 

Here the days pass under shade 

And the nights have the waxing and the waning moon. 

Here the moths take flight at evening; 

Here at morning the dove whistles and the pigeons coo. 

Here, as night comes on, the fireflies wink and snap 

Close to the cool ground, 

Shining in a profusion 

Celestial or marine. 

Here it is never wholly dark but always wholly green, 
And the day stains with what seems to be more than the 

What may be more than my flesh. 


I have wept with the spring storm; 

Burned with the brutal summer. 

Now, hearing the wind and the twanging bow-strings, 

I know what winter brings. 

The hunt sweeps out upon the plain 

And the garden darkens. 

They will bring the trophies home 

To bleed and perish 

Beside the trellis and the lattices, 

Beside the fountain, still flinging diamond water, 

Beside the pool 

(Which is eight-sided, like my heart). 


All has been translated into treasure: 

Weightless as amber, 

Translucent as the currant on the branch, 

Dark as the rose's thorn. 

Where is the shimmer of evil? 
This is the shell's iridescence 
And the wild bird's wing. 


Ignorant, I took up my burden in the wilderness. 
Wise with great wisdom, I shall lay it down upon 


Goodbye, goodbye! 

There was so much to love, I could not love it all; 

I could not love it enough. 

Some things I overlooked, and some I could not find. 

Let the crystal clasp them 

When you drink your wine, in autumn. 

125 : Train Tune 

Back through clouds 
Back through clearing 
Back through distance 
Back through silence . 

Back through groves 
Back through garlands 
Back by rivers 
Back below mountains 

Back through lightning 
Back through cities 
Back through stars 
Back through hours 

Back through plains 
Back through flowers 
Back through birds 
Back through rain 

Back through smoke 
Back through noon 
Back along love 
Back through midnight 

126 : Song for the Last Act 

Now that I have your face by heart, I look 
Less at its features than its darkening frame 
Where quince and melon, yellow as young flame, 
Lie with quilled dahlias and the shepherd's crook. 
Beyond, a garden. There, in insolent ease 
The lead and marble figures watch the show 
Of yet another summer loath to go 
Although the scythes hang in the apple trees. 

Now that I have your voice by heart, I look. 

Now that I have your voice by heart, I read 

In the black chords upon a dulling page 

Music that is not meant for music's cage, 

Whose emblems mix with words that shake and bleed. 

The staves are shuttled over with a stark 

Unprinted silence. In a double dream 

I must spell out the storm, the running stream. 

The beat's too swift. The notes shift in the dark. 

Now that I have your voice by heart, I read. 

Now that I have your heart by heart, I see 

The wharves with their great ships and architraves; 

The rigging and the cargo and the slaves 

On a strange beach under a broken sky. 

O not departure, but a voyage done! 

The bales stand on the stone; the anchor weeps 

Its red rust downward, and the long vine creeps 

Beside the salt herb, in the lengthening sun. 

Now that I have your heart by heart, I see.